Delaware State University and Verizon Innovative Learning are renewing their partnership that offers STEM and other tech courses to minority middle school boys.
The Verizon Innovative Learning program was launched in 2015. It works with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and institutions serving the Hispanic community nationwide to prepare minority male students in middle school for the tech careers of the future.
Charity Shockley, director of annual giving and grants at DSU, says Verizon connected with DSU in 2016, awarding the University a $400,000 grant to work with middle school students in the First State.
“That particular program was a two-year program and impacted about 80 students. We partnered with Capital School District. That’s where all the students were from, and all the participants were required to be from predominantly low-income households,” Shockley said.
Shockley adds the results of that initial effort were clear.
"I know that all of the participants exceeded our expectations as far as the extent of what they learned from Verizon," said Shockley. "That particular program we had activities once a month, on Saturday’s, where they would come to our campus and participate in various activities. We also took them on some field trips."
Shockley says students participated in summer courses that provided entrepreneurship training, and hands-on learning experiences in next-gen technologies like robotics and 3D printing.
Shockley says as part of the renewal, Verizon awarded DSU an additional $300,000 grant to continue the program and extend it to another 100 minority middle school boys in the Capital and Red Clay School Districts.